Nudging cooperation in public goods provision

Kai Barron*, Tuomas Nurminen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper experimentally studies two simple interventions that an authority figure might employ to promote cooperation in a public goods game when accurate feedback about contributions is not available. The first intervention aims to nudge participants to higher contribution levels by labeling contributions above a particular threshold as being “good”. Such a “norm-nudge” is intended to provide subjects with a clear, valenced focal point upon which they can coordinate. The second intervention aims to exploit lying aversion to induce higher contributions by requiring subjects to announce how much they contributed. We find that the nudge leads to a striking increase in the cooperation rate. By contrast, the ex post announcement mechanism does not have a significant effect on the cooperation rate. We present suggestive evidence that the nudge we use provides subjects with a focal point, helping conditional cooperators to coordinate their contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101542
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 29.04.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 511 Economics
  • Cooperation
  • Experiment
  • Focal point
  • Lying
  • Nudge
  • Public good

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Quantitative consumer behaviour and competition economics


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